STRIKES COME TO THE MINE

By Mary Sorenson

On October 14, 1912 the call for a general strike in the Robinson district came from Moyer a union boss, signed by local leaders.

The picket lines were effective enough by Tuesday morning to prevent operations by the company. It was during the second day of the strike, Tuesday, that activities near the gates between strikers and non-strikers turned from word battles to rock battles. The fact that many individuals on both sides of the fence were armed indicated that more violent action might be expected. The sheriff agreed with the mine bosses that the situation might get out of control and so both wired the Governor of Nevada Tuesday morning for help

Meanwhile County Sheriff Crain deputized 60 men to help patrol the situation at the mines.

On Wednesday, October 16, thirty strike breakers from the Waddell-Mahon Corporation, now in the employ of the company, arrived from the Western Pacific terminal at Shafter it was assumed that these company guards would be deputized by the sheriff. However, when Sheriff Crain was asked to do this he refused, saying he had the situation under control. From the public relations people, the entrance of the guards, who had reputations as professional gunmen, was a mistake on the part of the company for it turned the sympathy of many from the company to the strikers.

October 17, an attempt was made by the company to admit a man through the gates. Strikers hurriedly assembled, giving evidence by their threats that they were in no mood to let his challenge go without protest. In order to frighten the strikers, many of whom were armed, the leader of the Waddell-Mahon guards ordered his men to fire. As a result of this action, two men were killed and a third was severely wounded in McGill.

The situation was critical. Governor Oddie who had been summoned immediately after the killings declared martial law.

Union officials, through their lawyer, then obtained warrants for the arrest of C. B. Lakenan and C. V. Jenkins (company officials) for the murder of the two men. Governor Oddie, after the declaration of martial law, refused to allow the warrants to be served.

State troops, numbering 90 men and under the command of Captain Donnelly, arrived October 18. They immediately closed all saloons near the mines and the smelter and disarmed the company guards and the strikers who had been carrying weapons.

Under the protection of the state police, employees gradually returned to work at the mines and the smelter.